In response to the global spread of the new coronavirus, colleges and universities are shutting down campuses and migrating to online classes

Higher education institutions initially started addressing the pandemic by canceling study aboard programs. They also canceled various prospective student programs.

Currently, over 200 universities and colleges have canceled or postponed in-person classes. Here is a link to view the number of institutions affected. The first university to cancel in-person classes was the University of Washington, institutions from coast to coast the followed suit.

The protocol of each college varies. Some institutions are extending spring break, others or proceeding with classes as usual, come are evacuating dorms. Though these changes are difficult and sudden, these decisions are made in an effort to slow the spread of the pandemic.

Senior Vice President of the American Council on Education Terry W. Hartle states, “A week ago we could not have imagined where we would be today. It’s essentially crisis management at lightspeed without a playbook.”

President of the American Association of College and Universities (AACU) Lynn Pesquera suspects “profound ramification” from colleges and universities who decided to move online. She also states, “There are just so many aspects of this current situation that are unprecedented.”

With colleges emptying dorms and shifting to an online curriculum, many students find themselves without housing or access to meal plans. The cheapest alternative is to move back home. But housing situations differ greatly, and travel costs can be expensive, especially on short notice. It is recommended to contact student affairs officials for support and emergency aid. You can contact faculty, advisers, coaches, and other college recourses for support.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), issued guidance for higher education institutions in preparation for possible cases in schools. The guidance states, “To prepare for possible community transmission of COVID-19, the most important thing for the IHE [institutions of higher education] to do now is to plan and prepare. As the global outbreak evolves, IHE should prepare for the possibility of community-level outbreaks. IHE want to be ready in the vent COVID-19 does appear in their communities.”

Though the spread of the new coronavirus is causing great fear and anxiety, if learning and sharing accurate information about COVID-19 and understanding the actual risk can help you and the people you care about less stressed about the outbreak.

Here are some links to help you manage anxiety and stress: